10/22/2011 04:03 EDT | Updated 12/22/2011 05:12 EST

Canada To Help Rebuild Libyan Economy, Democracy


Canada will focus on rebuilding and developing Libya's economy and supporting democratic development now that NATO's mission is drawing to an end, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Saturday.

"There's a lot of Canadian firms that want to rebuild," Baird told CBC News in a television interview. "Also we want to support them in democratic development: how to draft a constitution, how do you conduct an election."

Baird was responding to news that Libya's interim rulers say they will declare the liberation of Libya on Sunday, three days after deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed. NATO also announced it would end its mission in Libya at the end of October.

The minister added part of offering help would also be to shore up the role of women in the new Libya.

"They've been shut out for so long and obviously, they've got a lot of contribute," Baird said.

Baird, who earlier this week appeared to shrug off concerns over whether Gadhafi was killed after his capture on Thursday in the outskirts of Sirte, was also asked whether he supports an international inquiry into the circumstances of the former dictator's death.

During question period in the House of Commons Friday, Liberal MP John McKay asked Baird whether the scenario of a Gadhafi execution — a "revenge killing" in his words — would be an affront to the rule of law, and the latest move in a cycle of violence.

“My first thoughts are with the Libyan people, not with their former dictator,” Baird responded.

On Saturday, Baird said that while Canada "supports the rule of law," he went on to add that there "should be investigations into a lot of things, including the tens of thousands of people that died at the hands of Moammar Gadhafi over the last 42 years."

Stronger Syria sanctions urged

The minister was also pressed about the lack of action by Western countries concerning bloody crackdowns on anti-government dissent in Syria and Yemen.

"We have to work under the authority of an umbrella of the United Nations," said Baird. "We can't even get from the Security Council a motion, a resolution of condemnation against the Syrian regime, which is absolutely terrible."

Baird pointed out that there was a UN Security Council resolution against Gadhafi's regime, opening the way for NATO intervention.

"What we're doing in Syria is working with like-minded countries. [We're] working with the U.S., the United Kingdom and others to have tough economic sanctions [and] we're going to strengthen those in the coming weeks."